Web page:

Please note: This guide is provided for free, but the deal is, that if you like it and find it useful, then you send Trados an e-mail and tell them, that you are SO glad SOMEONE made it, since they couldn’t get their sorry asses together to do it.

Please feel free to pass it along - including this notice.

Learning the basics is actually quite easy, when there are no missing links in the explanation. Hopefully there aren't here.

These are the basics. You can actually translate a big, real document once you have learned what is in these 5-10 pages. There is a bunch more, of course, much of it both fairly simple and useful, and Trados also makes it possible to do all sorts of other things which I don’t understand. But with these basic things, which take only a couple of hours to learn, I save 15% of my work time or more, so even for this simple use of Trados it is worth it. Knowing this much will also allow you to proof/edit other people’s ‘uncleaned’ Trados work, etc.

You will want to look at the tutorial on the disk, of course – it shows you pretty well how to run it. It’s actually quite good. However, it does not show you how to get started with your own stuff, which is kind of stupid. But the instructions below actually should be sufficient to get started.

(Note: quotation marks around things, are just for clarity, not for actual use, so 'test' just means – test ).


Installation should be fairly self explanatory on the disk, so install it. You need to have your dongle installed on the back of your computer, too. The little thingamajig, which plugs in.


The next things you need to do, is to open your Trados program. Probably from 'Start-Programs-Trados translation solutions-freelance applications-Trados workbench'.

First there is a bit of setup.

I only did this once a long time ago, so I may not have included all of it here, but if I haven't, ask on the Trados user's mailing list. The rest I have explained quite well below. So the first thing, which is explained nowhere, except perhaps in a footnote on page 46 in the manual, is choosing your user ID. Go to settings, choose 'User ID' , just put anything, your first name or whatever, and click OK. You may also want to go to settings and choose dialog language. Now try if that was all that was needed to proceed.


You will want to have translation memories of your own. First you need a place to put them. Make a folder in 'My documents' (or wherever you want it) and call it something like 'TMs'.


Now go to the Trados window. This window you will have seen to no end on the demo. First you will want to make a translation memory of your own. Eventually you will want a number of these. I pretty much make one for each subject area or client.

Go to File in the pull down menu of the Trados window. Choose 'New'. You get a dialog box called ‘Create translation memory’. On the left side is 'Source languages'. If you want to go from English to French, scroll down and choose 'English'. Then in ‘target language’ go choose 'French'. Each of these have several different versions of the language, but choosing the right one should be obvious. (If it is already set up, so that the one chosen in the target is the one you want for the source, it will not let you choose that one for source, unless you first change the target to anything random else, and vice versa. In other words, the same source and target are not options).

Then in the name field below, give it a name, such as 'test'. (Of the check boxes the left 4 in mine are checked, but I don't know, if it matters.) Then click Create.

Another dialog box comes up, which wants to know, where you want to save it. Tell it where to put it. At the top you will want to browse your way to the 'TMs' folder, and then below, you want to put the name 'test', too, and then save. You now have a memory. It’s in your TMs folder, and is actually 5 separate documents, but with somewhat similar names.


Now make yourself a simple test text in a Word document. Something like:

This is a test. This is not a test. This is a stupid test. This is a short test. This is a test. This test sucks. This is not a stupid test. This is not a test, but a test. This test is rough. This test is green. This test is easy. This red test is green. This green test is red. This is a test. This test sucks. Would you believe it – this is the right kind of test?

In other words a text with a number of short sentences, which are somewhat alike and occasionally repeat themselves.

Now you have a document to translate.


If Trados installed correctly, there should be a Trados icon on one of your toolbars in Word. The flagman. When you click it, a Trados menu bar should come up. If this is not the case it is most likely because the path specified to that file is wrong. In other words, the "C\Windows\Programs\Whatever" stuff is not quite right. I do believe we have specific instructions on how to fix that in Frank's FAQ’s, since I had this problem myself.
A good resource, actually:

Also good is the Trados mailing list, not run by Trados, but an independent list, which I may refer to below a couple of times:

So if/once this is OK, you can now start translating your document.


First you need to get Trados running again. Open it, and then in the Trados window pull down menu, File, choose 'open'. You will see in the box in the middle, a Trados icon named 'test'. Click on it.

This should make you ready to go. Sometimes it is already open from before, and it will say 'the file is already in use etc.' then just click OK, and don’t get into ‘open/create another’, etc… Anyway, the status bar at the bottom of the Trados window will usually tell you, just for a moment, when you open it, which memory is open or just was opened.


Now go to your Word window with your document. You can now forget about the Trados window for a while. You don't need it right now, but you do need to keep it open, just let it fall in the background.


On the Trados tool bar in Word/Office there is a left parenthesis with a downward arrow, it means ‘open a segment pair’ – click on it. Now you get a blue field with your first source sentence, and below it a yellow field, where you type in your translation of it. In many cases Trados will itself take care of any special formatting. It will also often transfer numbers automatically. Once you have translated this sentence, go click on the right parenthesis with an upward arrow to the left of it. This was your first sentence. (They are called segments in Trados language). Now you are ready to do this for your second sentence, but you ought to read on first and get a basic understanding at this point.

You should know, that in the word pull down menu, Tools, Options, View, there is a check box called 'Hidden text.' Turn it on, if it isn’t, and you will shortly get to see all kinds of little purple marks, which you must not mess with. You need it turned on to understand some of the following, but you will want to sometimes have it turned off in the future. Experiment with it.

There are key strokes for basic Trados functions. Just to make it more interesting, on mine they are not what they say they are – either in the program menus or in the manual. On mine Alt-home is the first one you used (get/open) (says alt+num7 in the program) , alt-end is the second one (set/close).

There is also a keystroke for close-one-and-open-the-next-one. On mine that is alt-+-from-the-numeric-pad. This is the Trados key stroke you will use the most. On the menu bar this is the button with a full parenthesis and a double, up-and-down arrow.


Three other toolbar buttons and/or keystrokes you should know about now:

')' means 'close without saving' - you will sometimes be asked to do that. Don't panic if such a request begins in the typical fashion of 'Trados could not- or did not- or something', so long as all it really asks you to do is to close without saving. Do it, it doesn’t mess anything up. You can go back right after the beginning '>' in front of the source sentence, place your cursor there and reopen the segment, if you need to. Usually, if you closed down word without closing the last segment, you will need to do this. ( In a large document, I like this, not closing the segment pair, so the blue and yellow bar will help me easily find the place I was, when I re-open the document after a break).

The arrow, which goes downward in a circular fashion, when pushed (Alt-insert on my keyboard) lets you transfer what is in the source field (blue) to the target field (yellow) with a key stroke. Good for addresses etc.

The button with the four way arrow (alt up-arrow on my keyboard), when pushed will bring up a window showing you all the sentence pairs where you previously translated a particular word. Say after you have translated a couple of your 'this is a test' sentences - on the next one you open, highlight the word 'test' in the source field. Click the four way button. You will now get a window up (you may need to click on a blinking icon on your task bar), which shows you all the ways you translated ‘test’ already. Nothing you directly can do with this, but if you someday forgot how you translated 'heat transfer tube' half an hour ago, you can look here instead of scrolling through your document searching for it. It’s real handy, if you suffer from CRS like me.


A wonderful thing will happen at some point. You open another sentence segment, and instead of a yellow field at the bottom, it will be green and have text in it. Right above it will say something like >100%<. This segment has been translated automatically by Trados, because you already previously translated the exact same sentence. Just close/open the next one.

A semi-wonderful thing is when the yellow field has text in it. This means, that you have previously translated a sentence, which was very similar. Just go into the yellow field and make the necessary changes and move on as usual. If you want a quick overview over, what is different in this one from the previous, similar one, here is where the Trados window can be handy, because it displays the differences with highlights. Also this yellow window will have something like >79%< above it, showing that this sentence is 79% similar (or whatever) to the previous, similar one. There is a way for you to adjust the threshold for how dissimilar a sentence Trados should bother bringing up, ask about that, when you need to know how, but it seems to me, it works well in the 60-70% range.

Once you start translating real documents, Trados will also in most case go right into numbered lists, tables etc., and out again and translate what needs to be translated. While it does it, it looks like the formatting has gotten all messed up, but it comes out ok, once you move on.

You can now finish translating your document. Take note of a couple of things:


Don't go back in the document to make changes without doing it inside the active blue-green/yellow fields. If you want to go back to something, close the segment pair you may have open at the moment, go to the place you want to go, and set your cursor just after the purple ">" at the beginning of the source sentence. Open the segment pair, make your change and close it, and go about your business.


Making a change to a problem you see up ahead, where you haven't gotten yet does not seem to present a problem, though. If you discover, for instance, that there is a line break in the middle of a sentence, which should not be there, or a return, you can change it before you get to it. Trados picks its segment sizes according to returns and periods, so if they are not right (as for instance, when text has been extracted from a pdf file) it really messes you up. Good thing to check, before you start, if all returns are correct.


If you do something wrong along the way, the safest way to undo it is through the Edit pull down menu ‘Undo’. Sometimes even if you only made one key stroke, it will take a number of undo’s to get back where you were, like ‘undo bookmark’ and all kinds of things you didn’t even know you did. Just keep undo’ing it and watch the changes, until you get something which looks right.

There is also a ‘Restore Source’ button, the parenthesis-arrow with a cross through it, which works well for this in most cases.


To copy and paste Ctrl-c and Ctrl-v only works inside the yellow/green box. To or from anything outside it, you need to use Ctrl-insert and Shift-insert instead. A number of other key strokes you may be used to using will have been assigned to other things in Trados. Don’t worry. Be happy.


At the end of chapter four of the WorkBench manual (which is in a pdf file on the disk) there are quick reference explanations of what the buttons on the toolbar mean, and also shortcut key strokes (though some of the latter are wrong). You will want to print out those couple of pages, though frankly the rest of the manual is crap. No matter how small a problem you have, they will make you read 50 complicated pages in retaliation).You will want to know what all these other toolbar buttons do at some point soon.


The TMs are supposedly not very stable. Trados has a fancy way of making copies of them to use in case the TM later gets corrupted. You may want to learn that. I just make a new copy of my TMs folder on a zip disk often. Once every couple of days or sooner. Once every few hours, if you work on a large project. If you live somewhere where power outages are frequent, consider getting an emergency backup power supply. Blackouts mess up the TMs. Crashes do too. You may want to put a copy of the Windows ‘resource meter’ on your taskbar to help you see, when a crash is coming. This has been really helpful to me, because Trados has a way of crashing without much other warning.


One more thing: This is a Word document, you are working on. Don't forget to save, like you usually do.


Once you have finished translating, you will need to clean up the document, that is remove the source language and all the Trados gibberish. It is quite easy. It is done from the Trados window, ‘Tools’ pull down menu. The main trick here is, that you have to have Word open, while you do the cleanup, but NOT the document itself.


In the Tools pull-down menu of the Trados window – choose Cleanup. In the dialog thingamajig which pops up, choose "Add" in the upper left corner. From the "Files to clean", which pops up, browse to/pick the one you want to clean up. It will now go into the big white field in the Cleanup dialog thingamajig, and all you need to do is to click on the Clean Up button in the upper right corner.

You may also want to see, that the "Update TM" is checked in the Cleanup thingamajig before you hit the Clean up button.

When you do, the 0% bars get all blue and pretty, and change to 100% and it says done. You can close it all, and go to whereever your document is. There will now be two documents, with more or less the same name – the one you cleaned up, which is the one you started with, and all the Trados gibberish and the source will be gone – and a BAK file, which should be a copy of the file before you cleaned it up, in case you need it for anything. This BAK file should be created automatically, but on my original installation of Trados it didn’t, so I used to make a copy of the uncleaned file first.

However, when I recently reinstalled my whole system, it started doing it automatically. I do not remember, whether I may have checked a settings button somewhere to make this happen. Being an Idiot, I rarely remember how, when and where I check such buttons.


Take deep breaths often.